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formatting?  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Mon Jun 27th, 2016 06:38 pm
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horrormaker
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Mana: 
i posted a play i wrote. one person got back to me saying i need to format it right, i used final draft. he then explained i need to research this on the internet. now, i have found 2 different styles of formatting. one where the characters are on the right, followed by dialogue.

John: Hello, how are you?

i also found one like this and this is how final draft does it.

John-centered
Hello, how are you?

which one of these is right?
thanks

Last edited on Mon Jun 27th, 2016 06:39 pm by horrormaker

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 Posted: Mon Jun 27th, 2016 07:28 pm
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in media res
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Mana: 
John-centered
Hello, how are you?

Then skip a line and do the same thing



best,

IMR

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 Posted: Mon Jun 27th, 2016 07:38 pm
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horrormaker
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Mana: 
thank you

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 Posted: Tue Jun 28th, 2016 04:40 pm
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Markg2
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Mana: 
Good morning.

This is my first post. Before doing so, I checked for a similar question and found this recent thread.

My question is similar but far more extensive.

Goal: 'Industry Standard' stage play Word format.

Result: Inconclusive. A Google search, several different iterations, yielded the same group. New York Playwright Template, PCSF PlayFormat2012, CPF play formatting_(Gordon State College).

All three claim to 'be the standard'. All three are at variance with each other.

So apparently there is no accepted, national, professional formatting standard--just one's particular bias?

Mark

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 Posted: Tue Jun 28th, 2016 07:26 pm
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horrormaker
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Mana: 
thanks mark

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 Posted: Tue Jun 28th, 2016 07:45 pm
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in media res
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Mana: 
Mark,

You are correct. But, over time, one formatting has won out. "Let the market decide."

This might help.

https://pwcenter.org/playwriting-toolkit/how-format-your-script

Read it.

It is excellent. For all writers/playwrights. Read especially how he describes "Submitting Playwrights."

"Submitting Playwrights" are those who basically have NO connections to the theatre. You are on the bottom of a very deep barrel. Most theatres now have "Playwriting Programs" that eager playwrights pay good money for. Which means the theatres are making good money off those playwrights and owe them to help promote their programs to more paying playwrights. The theatres often get heavy grant money to support these programs. As a "Submitting Playwright," the theatres owe nothing to YOU. So, YOU should not put any stumbling blocks into your scripts...like bad formatting or bad spelling.

Years ago, in my wonderful naive, pre-internet typewriter days, on a lark, I submitted a script to some very successful Broadway producers...two of them Tony Winners. I said, "What do I have to lose?"

Anyway...those two called me in to meet them. Each told me how much they enjoyed the script - they had each read it personally. They were most courteous and gave me great advice and we just had a charming time talking to each other. And they each told me I would probably have to make a choice of becoming an actor or a writer. (I chose actor, because I like to eat.)

I have been a reader for competitions. I have read things that have even been hand-written on UNLINED paper. (Poor penmanship, too! And written at a downward right angle. Thank god it was short. Most people would toss it out, but I figured I owed it to the writer. It wasn't good.) And what I have found is: if it looks like shit...it is shit! It's not that well-formatted scripts can't be shit...they just don't look like it. If the playwright doesn't care enough to tailor their play to the eye - and therefore the brain and soul - why should the reader read it?

Sometimes, a script has a good basic story...but no play. Sort of like listening to a rambling drunk in a bar.

The Upshot: The neater and more readable you can make your script so the eye can glide down the page, the better off you will be. You are the guide to the trail of your story as it wends its way.

best,

IMR

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 Posted: Tue Jun 28th, 2016 08:06 pm
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horrormaker
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Mana: 
thanks IMR

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 Posted: Tue Jun 28th, 2016 08:09 pm
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Markg2
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Mana: 
Wonderful advise!

I'll download and read your reference and then likely be back for spot questions on both formatting and then on to more interesting questions relative to the play.

Thanks so much!

Mark

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 Posted: Tue Jun 28th, 2016 08:20 pm
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Markg2
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Ooops, forgot to introduce.

I retired from/closed my S Fl General Contracting/non-residential construction business in '99 and we moved to Evergreen, CO. I play classical piano, teaching myself Spanish (very slowly), yoga, exercise/gym, mindful meditation, read a ton and have decided to finish the stage play started in 2008 that I had suspended for reasons no longer applicable.

Mark

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 Posted: Tue Jun 28th, 2016 08:45 pm
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horrormaker
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welcome mark, nice to know ya.

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 Posted: Tue Jun 28th, 2016 11:38 pm
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Mana: 
Read a lot of plays.

It will help you.

IMR

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